Six albums into his career, Caparezza keeps doggedly displaying the same set of strengths and weaknesses. Fortunately, the former typically outweigh the later, making the sprawling Museica eminently worthy of attention. First and foremost is his utter originality, almost shocking in a field as stuffed with imitators and poseurs as rap is. Name another rap artist who has made a concept album about painting, each track inspired by a specific work by the likes of Van Gogh, Goya, Duchamp, Giotto, Warhol, Malevich, Dalì, Kahlo, Dmitry Vrubel, Francis Bacon, Elmyr De Hory, Robert William Buss, Gustave Doré, Lucio Fontana, Shigeru Mizuki, Giuseppe Pelliza da Volpedo, or Antonio Ligabue. Or that employs a frame of cultural references that gleefully mixes and matches Luis Buñuel, Billy Preston, Daniel Pennac, Tristan Tzara, Shakespeare, Dickens, Zola, Frank Miller, Ella Fitzgerald, Dario Argento, Vladimir Horowitz, Schopenauer, Juvenal, Fabergé, Fabrizio de André, and André 3000, Donkey Kong, Nintendo Wii, and Google Apps, Looney Tunes, the film La Haine, the anime Yu-Gi-Oh, or characters from La Divina Commedia and I Promessi Sposi, to name a scant few. Musically, too, Caparezza stands far apart from the majority of hip-hop artists, which seem to operate under the assumption that music did not exist before the invention of the boom box, or outside the African American community since the '70s. As spelled out in "Cover," a track about album covers, Caparezza is unapologetically a child of classic rock, and his beats truly do not deserve that name, as they are much closer to prog rock or heavy metal tracks, with elements of just about any other musical genre you can think of throw in for good measure. On a related note, if the highly cultured name-dropping mentioned above gives you the impression that Museica was a stuffy, cerebral affair, you could not be more wrong. As are all Caparezza albums, Museica is a hilarious punk whirlwind of a record that maniacally thrashes everything in its way and then some, all the while discussing the role of the art in society as well as the snobbery associated with some of its (mal)practices. It is also quite brilliant, and yet again hindered by Caparezza's main flaw, which he is the first to acknowledge in the raucous self-parody of "Avrai Ragioni Tu": the man simply cannot slow down. Even if a track-by-track analysis reveals significant musical variety and even one quasi-ballad, the ode to songwriting, "China Town" (check its beautiful video), the curious listener is bound to leave this aural museum with a headache and the distinct impression that everything happens too fast, too loud, and for way too long. Even more frustratingly, Museica does not even need a lot of editing: kill the album at track 10, a first half that includes such stellar efforts as "Mica Van Gogh" or "Non Me Lo Posso Permettere," and it becomes an automatic contender for best Italian album of the year; go all the way to track 19 and it suddenly downgrades to honorary mention category.
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AllMusic Review by Mariano Prunes
feat: Diego Perrone
feat: Michael Franti